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If you’re like most people with a packed daily schedule, sometimes it feels like a huge inconvenience to get up after a long day to go work out. (If you only have free time in the early mornings, dragging yourself out of bed is arguably worse.) Luckily, an effective workout is a quick download away with free workout apps that can motivate everyone, from the laziest loungers to fitness freaks.
Fad diet plans and gym memberships can cost you a pretty penny, or you can rely on these tried-and-true fitness apps to reach your goals. Besides, your phone already motivates you to do almost everything else.
The best free workout apps
Sworkit (short for “simply work it”) is on a mission to minimalize your routine and make working out simple. Users have the option to pick more than 20 different pre-made workouts including cardio, yoga, strength training, and stretching. Each workout guides users with audio cues and short videos of real trainers who demonstrate the motions.
Besides the clean, user-friendly interface, the best thing about Sworkit is that it allows you to tailor specific workout lengths to your schedule. Users can snag a quick or lengthy personal workout at any time of the day.
C25k, otherwise known as “Couch to 5k,” is the perfect workout app if you’re a beginner trying to reach a set goal. The app gets you off your couch, literally, and trains you in intervals to prepare you for running a 5k after an eight-week plan. Users will work out three times a week, with breaks between each day, and each session lasts between 30 to 40 minutes. C25k is very user-friendly, and it helps you feel accomplished after each day is completed.
The point of the app is to show users that not everyone was born a runner—but you can easily transform into one.
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3) Nike+ Training Club
Nike+ Training Club is designed specifically for women, but ideally anyone can use it. The app includes more than 85 instructor-narrated workout routines curated by Nike professionals, pro athletes, and celebrities like Glee star Lea Michele, Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, and personal trainer Ary Nunez, who trains Rihanna. The app tracks your progress the more you use it and utilizes a reward system as encouragement to keep pushing. Users can link or create their own playlist to go along with the routines, while audio cues help you along the way.
The app lets you set an end goal, tailoring each workout to help you achieve whatever fitness goal you desire. Be prepared before beginning your workout with Nike+, though. The app doesn’t take breaks lightly.
Strava takes tracking your runs or rides to a whole other level. The app lets you map out and record your distance by integrating a geographic map. It includes a “Labs” feature to test different outcomes, like the ability to replay your cardio trail on its desktop interface after you have finished.
But the most interesting aspect of Strava is how it creates competition. The app lets you follow your friends to see if they’re actually as good as they say they when it comes to running or cycling. After you’ve completed your customized workout, you can compare your performance with other users to see who hit the finish line first. If you regularly train for marathons, you can use the app to track competitors in your area and take notes for the next race.
With every mile you run or walk using Charity Miles, you can donate to more than 30 worldwide charities. The interface is sleek, easy to use, and straightforward. Before each use, you choose a charity like Feed America, Stand Up To Cancer, or Habitat For Humanity, then proceed with your exercise of choice. According to the app’s website, $1.7 million has been raised so far.
Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll with your dog, walking to catch the bus, or running your favorite trail, Charity Miles helps you feel like you accomplished more than just a workout.
Map My Fitness takes the planning out of your run by offering you the best routes in your city. The app has a list of the most popular running, hiking, and biking routes around the world that you can access for free straight from the app. If you feel like running one of the pre-discovered routes, just download them from the website and select “Send to Phone.” Now you just have to show up and start moving.
Ever wanted a personal trainer but knew the cost was out of your price range? Personal Trainer: Home Workout makes users want to work harder knowing they’re getting a trainer-tested fitness routine. With more than 100 instructional workout videos, users can follow personal HIIT, cardio, and strength trainers every minute so you don’t get distracted.
The app is tailored to the user’s goals and the workouts can be customized to match any level of intensity and length from 10 to 30 minutes. The app can also connect to smart watches so you can keep track of your results.
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Qinetic gives users on-demand, guided fitness classes like yoga, strength training, high-intensity interval training, and more classes to make you sweat. The layout is clear and download time is fast, meaning you won’t deal with any lags that could slow you down.
The app connects with Apple Watch and Healthkit to monitor your activity while working out so you can check your stats in real time. The app is only available for download on iOS.
The best thing about this app is that it uses your exact body weight effectively, offering weight-free workouts that fit your weight loss (or gain) goals. Freeletics Bodyweight offers more than 900 workout variations with tutorial videos that range from 5 to 30 minutes and progress over time.
The app is highly motivational and gives users frequent inspirational messages like “Giving up is not an option!” Freeletics also offers an array of other fitness apps like Freeletics Gym and Running if you want to add more to your routine.
This app is as simple and straightforward as its name. 30-day Squat Challenge targets your precious glutes to give you the killer bubble butt you’ve always dreamed of by breaking down different types of squats for each day out of the month.
Each day, the number of squats you’re expected to do increases along with their intensity. After 30 days, hopefully you’ll be looking back at it with pride.
Runtastic Results is an app that lets you have a say in what you want out of it, letting users customize your own workouts for free. Users can target what areas they want to workout, and a voice coach will guide you through instructional videos for each timed movement.
The app will ask for you to buy a 12-week membership, but if you tap the menu button in the top-left corner you can avoid it and carry on. If you aren’t feeling creative, you can choose from standalone workouts that are short and sweet.
12) Adidas All Day
Adidas’s own version of a fitness app, Adidas All Day focuses on different types of fitness routines as well as healthy recipes to keep you on track. The app’s homepage is called your “canvas” and it will change throughout the day the more you move. The app does more than just keeping you physically in shape, it focuses your mental health as well by giving you incentives like thinking of 5 things you’re thankful for during your morning routine.
Adidas All Day features different trainers with their own introductory video and set of personal workouts that are available for download. The app is still working out a few kinks, but it’s great for an overall “healthy lifestyle” option.
13) Google Fit
Google Fit is the popular search engine’s fitness and wellness app that tracks your daily steps and fitness activities. The app tracks your speed, pace, route, elevation, and more so you can stay focused on your workout or daily routine.
Google Fit lets you set goals throughout the week and tracks your steps in the background of your phone each day so you can watch your progress. If you just want to use the app for running or cycling purposes, just tap the red “+,” choose your workout, and the app will time and track your route for you.
As one of the most advanced mobile apps for cyclists, Cyclemeter tracks your rides so you don’t have to worry about stats while you’re busy cycling. The app keeps a record of your time, speed, and elevation using graphs for a visual representation of each route you take.
While the app is each to use, it does lack in aesthetic appeal and asks you to upgrade when switching to other sections of the app. If you don’t mind that then it may be your best friend the next time you take your bike for a spin.
Although this app isn’t exactly one that gives you at-home workouts for free, MINDBODY helps users find deals in their city to help them save money if they’re the membership type. The app locates fitness studios that are running special promotions, as well as wellness studios and beauty salons.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
Kristen Hubby is a tech and lifestyle reporter. Her writing focuses on sex, pop culture, streaming entertainment, and social media, with an emphasis on major platforms like Snapchat, YouTube, and Spotify. Her work has also appeared in Austin Monthly and the Austin American-Statesman, where she covered local news and the dining scene in Austin, Texas.